Between Five Bells Red 2013 (Geelong, Vic)
14.5%, Cork, $32
Like a Where’s Wally of the wine world, nothing quite beats the intriguing infographic labels of Between Five Bells (B5B), which cover off leagues of production and wine information utilising graphics alone.
Beyond just data and cool labels, what makes this wine – and indeed everything from B5B – interesting is just how much experimentation goes into every bottle.
This 2013 red blend, for instance, is a mix of Shiraz with a little Sangiovese plus hatfuls of Negroamaro and Nero d’Avola. But it’s not any old Shiraz blend – just have a read of this excerpt from the winemaking notes ‘…we filled a small steel tank with skins of other ferments, (Negro/Nero, some other stuff), and added one-third whole bunch Shiraz from the Mt Duneed B5B vineyard, (2.2ha). We topped the other two-thirds with the remaining de-stemmed Shiraz’.
Having spent numerous nights drinking with B5B chief David Fesq I can totally understand the reason his wines are so unconventional – a man not afraid to question the orthodoxy. Importantly, the B5B wines have a drinkability about them that belie the natural-leaning, ‘alternative’ production – and this 2013 Red is the best example yet.
It finishes perhaps a little warm and sweet fruited, but also quite complex and alive – no fiddling here with acid or tannin additions, just grape juice fermented in old puncheons.
Admittedly David is a mate, so there may well be bias about the quality in the bottle. Friend or not, I can’t help but enjoy the provocative nature of this minimally handled, yet still conventionally juicy, ‘Geelong-Shiraz-goes-to-southern-Italy’ style.
Tasted: October 2014
Drink: 2014-2019 (it will probably drink for longer than that but it seems at its best sooner rather than later.
Score: 17.7/20, 92/100
Would I buy it? If I spotted this on a wine list I’d give it a whirl for sure.